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If, sitting with this little worn-out shoe
And scarlet stocking lying on my knee,, I knew the little feet had pattered through
The pearl-set gates that lie 'twixt heaven and ine, I could be reconciled, and happy too,
And look with glad eyes toward the jasper sea. If, in the morning, when the song of birds
Reminds us of a music far more sweet, I listen for his pretty broken words
And for the music of his dimpled feet, I could be almost happy though I heard
No answer, and but saw his vacant seat. I could be glad, if, when the day is done,
And all its cares and heart-aches laid away, I could look westward to the hidden sun,
And with a heart full of sweet yearnings say: “To-night I'm nearer to my little one
By just the travel of a single day.”
In sandals wrought of light in better lands,
Ran side by side with his in golden sands, I could bow cheerfully and kiss the rod,
Since Bennie was in wiser, safer hands. If he were dead, I would not sit to-day
And stain with tears the wee sock on my knee, I would not kiss the tiny shoe, and say,
“ Bring back again my little boy to me!” I would be patient, knowing 'twas God's way,
And that he'd lead me to him o'er death's silent sea. But oh, to know the feet once pure and white,
The haunts of vice have boldly ventured in! The hands that should have battled for the right
Have been wrung crimson in the clasp of sin! And should he knock at heaven's gate to-night,
I fear my boy could hardly enter in.
PIP'S FIGHT.-CHARLES DICKENS.
“Come and fight,” said the pale young gentleman.
What could I do but follow him? I have often asked myself the question since : but, what else could I do? His
manner was so final and I was so astonished, that I followed where he led, as if I had been under a spell.
“Stop a minute, though,” he said, wheeling round before we had got many paces. “I ought to give you a reason for fighting, too. There it is!” In a most irritating manner le instantly slapped his hands against one another, daintily flung one of his legs up behind bim, pulled my hair, slapped his hands again, dipped his head, and butted it into my stomach.
The bull-like proceeding last mentioned, besides that it was unquestionably to be regarded in the light of a liberty, was particularly disagreeable just after bread and meat. I therefore hit out at him, and was going to hit out again,when he said, “Aha! Would you?” and began dancing backward and forward in a manner quite unparalleled within my limited experience.
“ Laws of the game!” said he. Here he skipped from his left leg on to his right. Regular rules!” Here he skipped from his right leg on to his left.“ Come to the ground, and go through the preliminaries !” Here he dodged backward and forward, and did all sorts of things, while I looked belplessly at him.
I was secretly afraid of him when I saw him so dexterous; but I felt morally and physically convinced that his light head of hair could have had no business in the pit of my stomach, and that I had a right to consider it irrelevant when 60 obtruded on my attention. Therefore, I followed him without a word to a retired nook of the garden, formed by the junction of two walls and screened by some rubbish. On his asking me if I was satisfied with the ground, and on my replying Yes, he begged my leave to absent himself for a moment, and quickly returned with a bottle of water and a sponge dipped in vinegar. “Available for both,” he said, placing these against the wall. And then fell to pulling off, not only his jacket and waistcoat, but his shirt too, in a manner at once light-hearted, business-like and blood-thirsty.
Although he did not look very healthy-having pimples on his face, and a breaking-out at his mouth-these dreadful preparations quite appalled me. I judged him to be about my own age, but he was much taller, and he had a way of spinning himself about that was full of appearance. For the rest, he was a young gentleman in a gray suit (when not denuded for battle), with his elbows, knees, wrists, and heels considerably in advance of the rest of him as to development.
My heart failed me when I saw him squaring at me with every demonstration of mechanical nicety, and eying my anatomy as if he were minutely choosing his bone. I never have been so surprised in my life as I was when I let out the first blow, and saw him lying on his back, looking up at me with a bloody nose and his face exceedingly fore-short. ened.
But he was on his feet directly, and after sponging himself with a great show of dexterity began squaring again. The second greatest surprise I have ever had in my life was seeing him on his back again, looking up at me out of a
His spirit inspired me with great respect. He seemed to have no strength, and he never once hit me hard, and he was always knocked down; but he would be up again in a moment, sponging himself or drinking out of the water-bottle, with the greatest satisfaction in seconding himself according to form, and then came at me with an air and a show that made me believe he really was going to do for me at last. He got heavily bruised, for I am sorry to record that the more I hit him, the harder I hit him; but he came up again and again and again, until at last he got a bad fall with the back of his head against the wall. Even after that crisis in our affairs, he got up and turned round and round confusedly a few times, not knowing where I was; but finally went on his knees to his sponge and threw it up: at the same time panting out, “That means you have won.”
He seemed so brave and innocent, that although I had not proposed the contest I felt but a gloomy satisfaction in my victory. Indeed, I go so far as to hope that I regarded myself, while dressing, as a species of savage young wolf, or other wild beast. However I got dressed, darkly wiping my sanguinary face at intervals, and I said, “ Can I help you?” and he said, “No, thankee,” and I said, “ Good afternoon," and he said, “ Same to you.”
As Annie was carrying the baby one day,
Tossing aloft the lump of inanity,--
To the rest of the world a mere lump of humanity,-
Giving its locks round her fingers a twirl : “If I was a man I know that I couldn't
Be keeping my hands off a dear little girl.”
“Its mouth's like the roses the honey-bee sips!” Sam stooped to obey; and, as heads came together,
There chanced to arise a confusion of lips ! And, as it occurred, it might have been, maybe, That each got a kiss,-Sam, Ann, and the baby! It's hard to tell what just then was the matter,
For the baby was the only one innocent there :
And Samuel turned red to the roots of his hair.
THE OLD SOLDIER'S STORY.-E. A. Duncan.
Without 'twas cold and cheerless, and glooming into night.,
wars, And had their soldiers' record engraved in livid scars, Deep in their furrowed faces. The night was Christmas Eve. Three legs the party counted, beside one empty sleeve. They smoked their pipes and chatted in a dreamy sort of way Of times agone, and present, as two old comrades may. 'Twas “Bob" and "Joe" in private who forgot the rank they
bore, Nor “recked” they of the symbols which their broad shouldOld tales they told and gossipped of strange things they had
seen, How each had won his laurels in fights he'd helped to win. “ Now tell me, Joe,” said Bob at last,“ the best thing you
have done; The proudest recollection of all your life that's gone?" “ 'Tis not as you may think, Bob, an easy thing to tell, What we have done that's best, we've done so few things
well; For memory will not linger on tragic things to brood, Nor does she like her pictures bedabbled o'er with blood. When alone we sit reviewing the pages of our life, We quickly drop the curtain on scenes o'ercast with strife, Such as the world, applauding, calls our fields of glory, But fill your glass, and listen, Bob, and I'll tell you a story.
“In sixty-six, in Autumn, one wild, tempestuous night, I sat alone in quarters and watched the flickering light Cast its trembling shadows upon the walls about, As if in mirth defying the howling winds without. I'd cast aside my harness and piled it in a chair, And tipped back in my rocker with feet high in the air, And smoked my pipe sedately. 'Twas the ineerschaum poor
Jack Moore Gave me. Poor Jack! you knew him. He fell at 'Grand
Ecore.' Impatiently I waited for my slow coming meal, While old Aunt Dinah, blustering with Ethiopic zeal, Was railing at the darkies, who, in her sable view, Were'de no countest niggahs dat she done ebber knew.' So goaded into action by her reproving blast, The loit'ring rogues awakened and brought my meal at last. I started for my mess-room, and, as I crossed the floor, I heard a gentle rapping upon the outer door. Who's that!' I cried, impatient, in a surly voice I own, Not in what you would call, Bob, a ‘hospitable tone!' ‘Come in! I say there, can't you? come in! when you are
told!' 'Twas a timid voice that answered, 'My fingers are so cold.' I turned the knob, and looking out in the night and storm I saw there standing shivering, the dripping, scant-clad form Of a sad-faced little girl; a face that grief, not years, Had made look wan and sunken ; while from her eyes the
tears All mixed with big, cold rain-drops, were trickling down her
cheek ;I stood a moment silent, waiting for her to speak. She stood upon the threshold perhaps say half a minute, Down looking in her basket, which had nothing in it;